These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 30, 2010.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Dunkirk - 70 years on
There is a weekend of events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of the BEF and others from the coast of France at Dunkirk.
The Sunday Telegraph has a report.
For many veterans the memory of the carnage that was Dunkirk have long been difficult ones. Operation Dynamo, as it was known, was not, after all, a heroic triumph. Instead it was a daring rescue operation that saved the cream of the British Expeditionary Force and their Belgian and French allies from certain slaughter as they were forced back by Hitler's army.
Mr Kay was typical of his generation. He joined up at just 15 in 1936 and within three days of the outbreak of war he was posted to France. At 20, serving with the Royal Artillery, he and his comrades were trapped on the Dunkirk beaches.
"I vividly remember the ferocity of the fighting and the terrible smell of the burning buildings," he says. We were forced into retreat after fighting on the Albert Canal in Belgium. Our guns were spiked and we fell back to Dunkirk."
As a volunteer stretcher-bearer, George zigzagged his way across the beach dozens of times ferrying injured men to the makeshift flotilla of 900 naval and civilian craft – the latter known as the Little Ships – that had sailed across the Channel to rescue the hundreds of thousands described by Mr Churchill as "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army that were stranded and so nearly wiped out or captured".
Yesterday Mr Kay recalled seeing the flotilla arrive.
"Those 700 little ships – trawlers, fishing boats, merchant marine boats, even lifeboats – were a marvellous sight that day," he said.
Yesterday some 50 of the Little Ships were back in Dunkirk to commemorate the anniversary.
I don't know if this Little Ship was with them. The Queen Boudicea was a Thames boat at the time. Now she takes trippers (of which I was one such last October) up and down the canal from the British Waterways Museum in Gloucester. And I wasn't the only person to photograph her brass plaque declaring her to be a veteran of "Dunkirk 1940" I'm afraid you will have to follow the link to my Flickr page; I don't have access to any picture editing tools at the moment.
Dumbledore's Army sent me this poem by Edward Shanks
The Other Little Boats
A pause came in the fighting and England held her breath
For the battle was not ended and the ending might be death.
Then out they came, the little boats, from all the Channel shores
Free men were these who set the sails and laboured at the oars.
From Itchenor and Shoreham, from Deal and Winchelsea,
They put out into the Channel to keep their country free
Not of Dunkirk this story, but of boatmen long ago,
When our Queen was Gloriana and King Philip was our foe
And galleons rode the Narrow Sea, and Effingham and Drake
Were out of shot and powder, with all England still at stake.
They got the shot and powder, they charged the guns again,
The guns that guarded England from the galleons of Spain,
And the men who helped them to do it, helped them still to hold the sea.
Men from Itchenor and Shoreham, men from Deal and Winchelsea,
Looked out happily from Heaven and cheered to see the work
Of their grandsons' grandsons' grandsons on the beaches of Dunkirk.
I suspect that like HMS Victory the ships will be with us longer, to be a memorial to the men.
Posted on 05/30/2010 2:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Pakistani Taliban Carried Out Attack on Lahore Mosques, Police Say
From The New York Times
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The coordinated attack on two mosques that killed more than 80 members of a minority Muslim sect in Lahore was carried out by six men affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban, the police said Saturday.
The militants traveled from the town of Miram Shah in North Waziristan, a center for the Pakistani Taliban, and arrived in Lahore on May 21, a week before the attack on Friday, according to the spokesman for the police in Punjab Province, Akram Naeem Bharoka. The men, ages 17 to 28, scouted the two mosques belonging to the Ahmadi sect with the help of local assistants, he said.
The Taliban, who are Sunni Muslim, have increasingly focused on attacking minority Muslim groups.The assault on the two mosques also wounded more than 100 people and was one of the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan in recent years.
Some of the survivors of the attack, who had been held hostage for more than three hours while the gunmen rampaged through one mosque near the central rail station, criticized the slow response of the police to calls for help. Some of the worshipers trapped in both mosques called the police on their cellphones almost immediately when they heard the sound of gunfire, they said.
The Ahmadis were declared a non-Muslim minority in 1974 when Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto agreed to the law under pressure from the Sunni majority.
The police spokesman said two of the six attackers had fled and had not been found. Two others died, and two were arrested, he said.
During their weeklong preparations, the men stayed in Raiwind, the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat (we can have them out of Dewsbury, Newham, Camberley and elesewhere - soon as you like please), a Muslim missionary group often described by terrorism experts as the antechamber of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The men had also taken shelter at the Ibrahim Mosque, a center of the Tablighi Jamaat in central Lahore, said Mr. Bharoka, the police spokesman.
One of the arrested men trained in North Waziristan, and originally came from a village in southern Punjab known to have a concentration of sectarian militant groups.
Posted on 05/30/2010 4:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Muslim preacher of hate is let into Britain
THE home secretary, Theresa May, is facing a stiff test of the Conservative party’s claims to oppose radical Islam after her officials chose to allow a misogynist Muslim preacher into Britain.
Zakir Naik, an Indian televangelist described as a “hate-monger” by moderate Muslims and one Tory MP, says western women make themselves “more susceptible to rape” by wearing revealing clothing.
Naik, who proselytises on Peace TV, a satellite television channel, is reported to have called for the execution of Muslims who change their faith, described Americans as “pigs” and said that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”.
In a recent lecture, he said he was “with” Osama Bin Laden over the attacks on “terrorist America”, adding that the 9/11 hijackings were an inside job by President George W BushIn opposition, David Cameron and other senior Tories led criticism of the Labour government for allowing radical preachers into Britain to stir up hatred on lecture tours. While in opposition, Cameron also campaigned to get Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian radical, banned from Britain.
Cameron and May now face a political test over Naik, whose inflammatory comments have led some moderate Muslims to call him a “truth-twister”.
One well-placed insider said: “Zakir Naik is a nasty man who makes al-Qaradawi look like a participant at a teddy bears’ picnic. He shouldn’t be allowed into the country to stir up hatred.”
The Home Office indicated that it was not planning to ban Naik, however.
Posted on 05/30/2010 4:17 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Massachusetts Senate Passes Crackdown on Illegal Immigration
Times, they are a changin'. From The Boston Globe (with thanks to AC):
With one lawmaker citing President Lincoln's respect for the rule of law, the Massachusetts Senate passed a far-reaching crackdown this afternoon on illegal immigrants and those who would hire them, going further, senators said, than any immigration bill proposed over the past five years.
In a surprising turn of events, the legislation replaced a narrower bill that was passed Wednesday over the objections of Republicans.
The measure, which passed on a 28-10 vote as an amendment to the budget, would bar the state from doing business with any company found to break federal laws barring illegal immigrant hiring. It would also toughen penalties for creating or using fake identification documents, and explicitly deny in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.
The amendment would also require the state’s public health insurance program to verify residency through the Department of Homeland Security, and would require the state to give legal residents priority for subsidized housing.
The amendment will now be part of negotiations with the House as part of the entire state budget.
Supporters, especially Republicans, struck patriotic notes and spoke of the sanctity of the law as they spoke on the Senate floor.
“It was President Lincoln -- and I’m going to paraphrase here -- who suggested that respect for the law should be preached from every pulpit taught by every mother to every child,” said Senator Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican...
Posted on 05/30/2010 9:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 30 May 2010
A Moderate Muslim Writes
Comments on my brief Tennessean op-ed
continue to come in. Most are supportive and all have been cordial with one notable exception by Amin Salman at the Tennessean website. This one is interesting.
Your article in the 28 May Tennessean would be more accurate if you replaced “Islam” with “Saudi Arabia”.
Some of the examples you cite are not limited to Islam. You have built a narrative. Similar narratives can be built for other groups, and I suggest trying on some examples below.
I am a moderate Muslim, patriotic American and have lived in Tennessee for 35 years, with roots in Bangladesh and upbringing in present-day Pakistan. Being familiar with both US and Islamic ways, it is very unfortunate how I see both sides keep talking past each other, loaded with stereotypes. I have visited all 50 states and have a deep admiration for the United States. I am not prepared to be a caricature of a stereotype. Your descriptions are correct but incomplete, and selective.
1. Islam is intolerant and discriminatory. Not untrue, but similar narrative can be built about Hindu intolerance towards the hundreds of millions Schedule castes or Dalits in their own religion; the Hindu refugees in Nashville today who fled Bhutan because of oppression by the Buddhists. Yes the Buddhists. PBS Channel 8 profiled them recently under “Our Neighbors” series. The ethnic cleansing of Cherokees that is the Trail of Tears. Mistreatment of minorities is not unique to Muslim countries is my point.
Point taken, but the subject at hand was Islam. If there were Hindus or Buddhists flying airplanes into buildings, plotting to kill civilians at every turn, and in general spreading ideas inimical to the fabric of our culture, then we would be discussing Hinduism or Buddhism. As it is, we are discussing Islam.
2. Second-class citizenship for woman. Yes shamefully much in Islam. But read Ellen Goodman’s article from ten years ago on seating arrangement at Sen. Joe Lieberman’s orthodox synagogue in Washington and you will be unable to distinguish it from that of a mosque. Not right, but not uniquely Islamic. Woman’s suffrage is less than 100 years old in the US. But Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Khaleda Zai and Sheikh Hasina(Bangladesh), Megawati Sukanoputri (Indonesia) and Tansu Ciller (Turkey) were all elected woman prime ministers or presidents in Muslim majority countries in the past 25 years. These four countries account for probably 700 million Muslims. The narrative is not as one-dimensional as your article suggests.
Unfortunately, the overall status of women, despite your notable exceptions above, seems quite hopeless under Islam. I really don't see any way for improvement for Muslim women. I think the notion of female equality is essential to modern civilization and am appalled to see polygamy, FGM and other methods of female oppression spreading in this country. Women have fought long and hard for our rights and won't easily see them undermined.
3. I went to Catholic missionary school in Pakistan (St Francis Grammar); My wife went to similar school in Bangladesh (Holy Cross School). Those countries were Islamic then as they are now. The new ideology of intolerance is a political expression and recent fundamentalist interpretation, not a religious tenet.
I think the opposite case could also be made: that the loosening of Islamic strictness as was the case 50 years ago, before the great oil bananza gave wealth and power to Muslims who before were very poor, was the anomaly. Obviously the strength of Islam as ebbed and flowed over the centuries, but I don't think fundamentalism is a recent invention. You are correct, Islamic fundmentalism is certainly on the rise now, though.
4. I have heard about tremendous barriers to gain Israeli citizenship for Arab spouses of Isreali citizens of Arab origin.The right-wing Israeli political parties (Sha party, etc.) openly call for expulsion of Arabs from Israel proper (I am not even talking of the occupied territories). The late Meir Kahane of the now-banned Kach party called Arabs dogs and spit across a fence. Is that ugly? Yes. Is that sanctioned by Judaism? No.
Again, I think this is beside the point. We're talking about Islam in America.
5. And it is not just Christians who cannot take up permanent residence or buy property in Saudi Arabia. Muslims , at least those from South Asia, cannot either even if they lived and worked in the country their whole lives.
Thank you for that information. I did not know that.
Thank You. The strength of this country is to be able to express one’s opinion in the open.
Thank you, Mr. Mohyuddin, I couldn't agree more. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to discuss these things with you.
Posted on 05/30/2010 9:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 30 May 2010
The Americans Came to Iraq from Another Planet
In a May 24, 2010 editorial in the London daily Al-Hayat, the paper's editor-in-chief, Ghassan Charbel, wrote that the Americans came to Iraq without understanding the nature of this country and region. They thought, he says, that they could topple Saddam's regime and rebuild Iraq like they rebuilt Japan and Germany, establishing an attractive democracy that would tempt the neighboring countries to emulate the Iraqi model. However, they failed to understand that the peoples of the Middle East "'are made up of different races, sects and denominations, which drag behind them a history of clashes, fear, and attempts to eradicate and exterminate one another, and that our real identity – like our loyalties – is either smaller or greater than the area of the countries we inhabit."
Charbel adds that the failure in Iraq is not only American, since the Iraqis also took part in the "carnival of despoliation."
Following are excerpts from an English translation of the article published in Al-Hayat:
"The Americans Came to Iraq from Another Planet"
"The Americans came to Iraq from another planet. They missed the fact that this part of the world was living in a different historical period. They had a deluded [notion] that they could perform a deep surgical procedure on the region by removing Saddam Hussein's regime.
"The Iraqi politician smiles. Experience shows that the Americans were wrong in interpreting [the] people's demands and feelings. They believed that toppling Saddam Hussein would allow them to rebuild Iraq as they did Germany and Japan. They forgot about the different circumstances, the degree of economic and social development and the religious and cultural differences.
"In their faraway offices, the planners [dreamt] a naïve dream. They believed that democracy was the only dream of the people in the region, and that the mere fact of opening the Iraqi window would encourage the Iranians and Arabs to take to the streets in emulation of the Iraqi model."
The Americans "Did Not Understand that Our Real Homelands Are Our Sects and Regions"
"They did not know that we are made up of different races, sects, and denominations, which drag behind them a history of clashes, fear and attempts to eradicate and exterminate one another, and that our real identity – like our loyalties – is either smaller or greater than the area of the countries we inhabit. They did not understand that our real homelands are our sects and the regions [inhabited by people like ourselves].
"I listened to officials, politicians, and intellectuals, who all agreed that the U.S. role in Iraq has become secondary, that the invasion succeeded at toppling Saddam Hussein's regime but failed to build an attractive democratic model that would entice the region's inhabitants to embrace democracy and change and live in pluralism and rule of law. And then [they added that] the Americans were not a charity organization to begin with."
"The Talk about the U.S.'s Failure Sometimes Aims to Cover Up the Failure of the Iraqis Themselves"
"Those visiting Iraq also hear bitter confessions from politicians and intellectuals. The talk about the U.S.'s failure sometimes aims to cover up the failure of the Iraqis themselves, their failure to seize the opportunity and to quickly unite around a state with [proper] institutions and rule of law.
"One politician places the Iraqis themselves on the list of those who have despoiled Iraq. He speaks of the horrors of the violence on the streets, and of the looting of ministries and institutions. This politician denounces the foreign parties that despoiled Iraq and continue to do so, but he considers the catastrophe to lie in the Iraqi forces' contribution to the drawn-out carnival of despoliation.
"The future of Iraq is uncertain, as many admit. One also hears that Iraq used to be a player and has become a playground, used to be a country and has become an arena, that the dream of a strong Iraq [standing] once again at the Eastern gates of the Arab World is a dream that can no longer be fulfilled, and that restoring the Iraqi side of the Iraq-Iran-Turkey triangle will take a long time – aside from the fact that the return of a strong Iraq seems impossible due to [Iraq's] structure and the changes it has suffered."
Posted on 05/30/2010 10:28 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Sen. Lieberman and the DHS Deportation Hearing for Mosab Hassan Yousef
As a Member of the Board of Directors of Former Muslims United (FMU), I sent a letter to Sen. Lieberman’s Washington office Chief of Staff, Ms. Clarine Nardi Riddle, concerning pending US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) deportation hearing for Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of Son of Hamas. This Kafkaesque DHS/ICE proceeding is scheduled for June 30th in San Diego, California. Yesterday, my NER colleague Rebecca Bynum posted Youssef’s blog piece “Homeland In-security” as background to this bizarre bureaucratic episode at DHS. Despite the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Ms. Riddle responded that her office would check on this matter.
Independently, Ms. Sarah Stern, President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) in Washington, DC sent a personal note to a Member of Senator Lieberman’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC). EMET is honoring Yousef with its Rays of Light in the Darkness Award on June 23rd at a Capitol Hill dinner that also recognizes efforts of several Senators and Congressmen. Among the honorees is Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a colleague of Sen. Lieberman. Additionally, a fellow FMU board member, Amil Imani, will be speaking at the EMET event. Imani was the subject of an interview in the January edition of the NER.
Fellow FMU board members, Dr. Wafa Sultan and Nonie Darwish, have a previously scheduled meeting on June 2nd with former US immigration judge and Pepperdine Law School Professor Bruce Einhorn who runs a clinical practice program on asylum. Doubtless, Yousef’s predicament will be high on the agenda for that session.
In an exchange of emails, Stern of EMET noted the absurdity of the DHS/ICE deportation hearing and the resolve that many of us have to achieve justice and freedom for Yousef in America.
This is absolute insanity. I am in a position to help Mosab and will do absolutely everything in my power to do so. We are living in a Kafkaesque world...Sending him home would be sentencing him to certain death.
Others have responded in a similar manner to our call to contend with the injustice of this DHS/ICE deportation hearing and seek political asylum for Yousef in America. The question before us is why is DHS/ICE proceeding with this matter? This despite the FBI advising DHS/ICE that Yousef is not a threat to our national security and suggesting dropping the case. Let us see what Senator Lieberman’s HSGAC and other Members of Congress can do to resolve this matter in Yousef’s favor. We should also wait for suggestions from legal expert Einhorn as to how best to proceed at the upcoming June 30th hearing
Below is the text of my letter to Senator Lieberman Washington Chief of Staff, Ms. Riddle:
May 30, 2010
Ms. Clarine Nardi Riddle
Chief of Staff - Washington office
US Senator Joseph l. Lieberman (I-CT)
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Re: DHS immigration Hearing for Mosab Hassan Yousef
File: No. A 088 271 051 June 30, 2010 San Diego, California
Doubtless the Senator and you have read of the amazing exploits of Mosab Hassan Yousef, the author of Son of Hamas, who worked undercover with Israel's Security Service (Shin Bet) to foil terrorist and suicide bombings in Israel and the West Bank that saved Israeli, Palestinian and American lives. Mr. Yousef is to be honored with a Ray of Light in Darkness Award for his bravery at the annual Capitol Hill dinner of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) on June 23, 2010. Among others to be honored that evening is a colleague of the Senator’s, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.
However, I was astonished to read a blog post -see attached - from Mr. Youssef that he is the subject of a Department of Homeland Security immigration hearing regarding his possible deportation - see DHS File No. A 088 271 051 - on the grounds of being a threat here in America. This despite the fact that the FBI has advised DHS that he is not a threat and to drop the case.
We at Former Muslims United (FMU) are asking that the Senator request information from the DHS regarding Mr. Youssef's immigration proceedings and vet him with the FBI to verify the facts in the matter. Should that investigation verify Mr. Youssef's status, we would trust that the Senator and his colleagues on the US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (USSHSGAC) might further investigate the matter with a view towards resolving Mr. Youssef's request for political asylum in this Country.
For further information on the status of the DHS Immigration Hearing, the Senator’s HSGAC staff should contact:
Kerri Calcador, Esq.
US Dept. of Homeland Security
Immigration and Custom Enforcement
880 Front Street, Suite 224
San Diego, California 92101
Many thanks to the Senator all that he does for the security of Americans.
Jerome B. Gordon
Member of the Board
Former Muslims United
New English Review
Attachment – SonofHamas blog, May 22, 2010 –Homeland In-Security
cc. M.H. Yousef
Nonie Darwish, FMU
Wafa Sultan, FMU
Amil Imani, FMU
Sarah Stern, EMET
Posted on 05/30/2010 12:21 PM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 30 May 2010
US Military Deaths in Iraq War at 4,400
With another one thousand in Afghanistan. AP:
As of Tuesday, May 25, 2010, at least 4,400 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
The figure includes nine military civilians killed in action. At least 3,485 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
Thomas J. Scheff addresses the issue of the numbers of our military dead in Iraq here. Are they just a number on a page to us? So many, so young.
An excellent documentary based on Scheff's poem is here.
Posted on 05/30/2010 1:31 PM by Rebecca Bynum